Women of Colour Researchers in Scotland: A Mentoring Symposium

On the 22nd of September, Women of Colour Researchers in Scotland: A Mentoring Symposium took place at the University of Glasgow. The day was the outcome of a collaborative funding submission which I contributed to in 2016, as a University of Dundee PhD marketing candidate.

Dr Geetha Marcus (University of Glasgow) and I received £1000 from the British Sociological Association, towards co-organising the Early Career Forum. Our interdisciplinary symposium brought together women from different parts of the UK, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, York, Birmingham and London. The event provided a space for women of colour to meet and share their experiences of conducting research, as well as navigating academic environments.

At the time we submitted the application for funding, I had no idea that once the symposium came around I would have started my exciting new role as a Lecturer in Marketing and Advertising at Edge Hill University. It was great to see the symposium come to life, including by participating and presenting work as an early career researcher myself.

The spirit of the day involved an emphasis on fostering a supportive environment in which attendants could present research, share advice and seek guidance from our key discussants. Following positive feedback, the hope is that the event is the start of continued correspondence and connections between all who attended.

9) Rosa Luxemburg Award – CMS 2017

David Knights CMS International Award Acceptance Speech

I am glad to be here but at my age and in my condition I am glad to be anywhere.

In this centenary of the Russian Revolution, it is wonderful to accept this first CMS International Conference Rosa Luxemburg award although I don’t feel worthy of being associated with such a giant of socialist purpose. She stood up to, and suffered the consequences of not only fighting the state, but also many of her comrade revolutionaries who she thought were too revisionist. I thank the scientific committee and Alessia Contu from the bottom of my heart. I am still able to say this tonight but next week I will have the bottom bits taken out in open heart surgery – while I suppose most of us have suffered a broken heart at some time in our lives, knowing that my heart is actually, rather than metaphorically, broken is an entirely new and traumatic experience. Not to bore or disturb you too much with the gory details, they will zap my heart with an electrical current to get the rhythm back (I thought I could just go to a rock or heavy metal concert instead, but no such luck). Then they will remove 2 valves (that’s 50% – it reminds me of an old Tony Hancock blood bank comedy sketch when he was shocked at how much they wanted – ‘A pint’! that’s nearly an armful). They will then replace them with valves from cows and although I have always been a bit of a Foucauldian, I will now be able to fulfill the Deleuzian dream of becoming animal and woman all in one go.  People have been saying for some time that I should be put out to grass so here is the opportunity.

Turning to more pleasant matters – I suppose I have conducted my academic career a bit in the proverbial manner of Frank Sinatra and done it my way.   I know some of you will be saying Frank who? But in my youth he was almost as much of a superstar as Stewart Clegg is today – sorry did I mean the other Stewart – Rod Stewart? (or Beyonce /Ed Sheeran?).  As we enjoy our drinks, though, I am reminded of one of Sinatra’s quips when off to the bar in closing a set: ‘I feel sorry for folks who don’t drink because when they get up in the morning that’s the best they are going to feel all day’.

I did it my way in the sense of challenging rather than promoting management or managerialism in the way that nearly everyone else did in a business school.  I established the Labour Process Conference in 1983, the Gender, Work and Organization journal and conferences in 1994 and especially wrote about masculinity. But I even worked with industry especially the finance sector in running an industry-academic collaboration from 1994- 2006 to fund research. This Forum consisted of around 30 large corporations such as the insurers Prudential, Legal & General, Norwich Union and Virgin financial services, and the banks Barclays, Co-op, Lloyds, NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland.  We met 3 times a year and produced research that frequently showed how these companies did not know what they were doing but little did we know how true this was until the financial crisis of 2008.  I think I have approached kind of freedom that Rosa Luxemburg said ‘is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently’.

This award is not for me though, I am accepting it on behalf of the PhD students I was lucky to supervise: Jo Brewis, David Collinson, Chris Grey, Deborah Kerfoot, Anita Mangan, Pam Odih, John Roberts, Andrew Sturdy, Emma Surman, Theo Vurdubakis, and last but not least Hugh Willmott who was my first doctoral student and close colleague and who founded the CMS conference 20 years ago. It should also be in the name of over 25 research colleagues with whom I have collaborated including: Pasi Ahonen, Ola Bergström, Brian Bloomfield, Peter Case, Joanna Ciulla, Caroline Clarke, Rod Coombs, Andrew Crane, Graeme Currie, Emma Jeanes, Yvonnne Latham, Andrew Leyshon, Chris Mabey, Pat Yancey-Martin, Darren McCabe, Glenn Morgan, Fergus Murray, Cinzia Priola, Alison Pullen, Harry Scarbrough, Doris Schedlitzki, Ken Starkey, Torkild Thanem, Leah Tomkins, Maria Tullberg and many others.

I know that it was not quite a revolution, but in the UK the revival of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn validates Rosa Luxemburg’s view that ‘before it happens it is perceived as impossible; after it happens, it is seen as having been inevitable’.

Finally I need to thank Caroline Clarke, Jo Brewis, Darren McCabe and Hugh Willmott who organized a celebration for me on the 31st March at Lancaster University that preceded this award and also my wife for putting up with my endless sitting at a computer. Thanks again CMS for this award and may the conference always continue (to paraphrase Luxemburg) to ‘move us’, in ways that enable us to ‘notice our chains’.

Conference Programme

The 10th International Critical Management Studies (CMS) Conference – CMS 2017

July 3 – 5, Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, UK

Host Organisation: Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK


Time for another revolution?


The conference programme is available via the link below:

Conference Programme

Creating impact through enterprise education – what works?

Dr. Charles Knight, Associate Director of Edge Hill University Business School will be leading along with Ruth Lowbridge  a one-day workshop on Enterprise Education.

At the event, Charles will be talking about how he embedded enterprise in his teaching in a high impact but low cost way by removing lectures and seminars.

The event (hosted at London South Bank University on the 6th April) will consider institutional approaches to developing enterprising pedagogies. As well as focusing on how to transform institutional culture and create an enterprise education strategy, the event will also explore ways to recognise and reward enterprise and entrepreneurship. In particular, it will provide an opportunity for University leadership teams to reimagine their approach to employability and develop an enterprise education strategy through pedagogies that nurture the student as entrepreneur.

Aims & Outcomes
* Explore current thinking on approaches to enterprise education
* Develop institutional strategies to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship
* Consider models of good practice and the Enterprise Framework
* Gain insights into the work of the IOEE

Who should attend?

The Summit is aimed at leadership teams, including Heads of Department and Deans, as well as careers advisers, employability coordinators and employment services managers. It will also be of benefit to individual academics who are looking to enhance their approach to enterprise and entrepreneurship.

You can book onto this event here.


Students styled to impress by John Lewis

jlSecond Year Business School students were treated to a first for the John Lewis Partnership; an opportunity to style students for an Interview and Assessment Centre Day. As part of the Employability and Enterprise Modules students had been approached by John Lewis to be styled and dressed for the Session which took place in the Faculty of Health Lecture Hall.

Ryan Comboy and Jake Cunliffe-Neal students from the Business School and Hayley McKenzie and Carole Wilson from the Faculty of Health became models for the afternoon demonstrating how to prepare by wearing the correct business attire and accessories to deliver confidence in the Interview and Assessment Centre Situation.  Two Style Consultants from the Liverpool store of JLP took time to show how choosing the right colours and styles can make all the difference in performance in an Interview.

jl2Small tips such as wearing your favourite socks or earrings to complete outfits and ensuring shoes and nails clean were offered.  Demonstrating how to sit on a chair in the Interview situation were also shown so that the student would always present in the very best way.

Organisers of this special event were Jackie Lee and Lin Boyd from Switch Onto Business & the Business Club in Liverpool, who have worked with Module Leader Sue Murrin-Bailey and Dr Dane Anderton on Communication and Presentation Skills within these Modules ensuring that in the forthcoming Mock Assessment Centre Day for all second year Business Students in January 2017 that they will be able to increase their confidence by dressing and presenting themselves to their best for this event!

Employability Skills Enhanced via Teaching & Internships

e_leaheyEmily Leahey is a Business & Management Student who has taken an Internship at Matalan Headquarters in Knowsley for one year in a role as Trading Process IP on the Trading Support and Process Team.

Further to an initial site visit to discuss her Placement and role in the team,  Emily stated:

‘I am fully enjoying my placement at Matalan on the Trading Process team. Being on this team has allowed me an insight into many areas of the business, ranging from international, supply chain, imports and merchandising. I feel like this is a beneficial role for me as it is giving me a rounded view of the company and that exposure that not many university students would get.

From my second year at university what really helped me secure my placement was the mock assessment centre I attended in January. The assessment centre was similar, if not exactly the same, as Matalan’s centre went to for my interview. I felt this was really beneficial as it set me up for what to expect and how to present myself to employers, i.e. what to say and what to prepare.

Also I feel many of my modules from second year have helped me in my role at Matalan. I can see clear links from my HR modules (BUS 2018 Managing the human resource and BUS 2024 Managing people), when helping with the company training sessions.
When I sit with other teams across the business (e.g. buying, merchandising) I can see what I have learnt from BUS 2031 Retail Marketing Planning and BUS 2035 Consumer Behaviour be used on the trading floor. These modules have also been helpful when receiving feedback from the trading floor on any company training sessions we have rolled out, to know what to improve on and how to take what the ‘customer’ wants into consideration.

Overall I am very happy with my placement at Matalan and can see this allowing me to grow my skills and be a valuable experience.’

Graduate Joins RAF to Train as Officer and Pilot


Graduate and former Edge Hill University Business School student Daniel Hall has been successful in his application to join the RAF. Dan was accepted for initial Officer Training and to train as a pilot. Dan cited his experience at Edge Hill as being a significant factor in his successful application:

“My graduate enterprise experience helped me massively in all of the interviews and indeed practically in terms of confidence when public speaking and confidence in myself. But the RAF loved the fact that I had set up and run my own business as it adds a rather large string to my bow.”

Dan begun his training with the RAF on August 21st 2016.

Edge Hill Business & Computing Students Flying High



Chloe Lawrence, Business & Management (pictured second row, right.) said “going to MAG has taught me that when an opportunity is there, take it, even if you don’t really know what you want to do, there are a million and one different stepping stones that it could lead you to. Taking the opportunities opens your options and if you’re like me and still stuck on what you want to do with your degree it can help you find something that you love. Having the graduates that are there to answer any questions was really valuable, they gave a lot of advice about masters and sandwich years, which was really useful. It was nice that everyone had a different story on how they got there, and how experiences like the assessment day, got them to where they are today. The career opportunities are really interesting at MAG, they are in a range of locations which is great if you want to stay close to home, or go somewhere new. They also have a range of different departments so there is a guarantee that something will be of interest to everyone. They also let people trial different departments so that if you don’t know what you want to do then you can experience a few.”

Jessica Macguire, Accountancy (pictured front row, third from left) commented “one of our tasks was to work in a team and designate a list of MAG priorities in numerical order and present it.   We were timed for this activity.   Every group ran out of time to some degree.   During feedback we were told that this was the most common downfall and good time keeping was key. The graduates advised us to always wear a watch to assessment centre days and keep one eye on the time. They also advised that it is normal practise to turn off your phone, so not to rely on that for the time.  Finally, we were advised to create a LinkedIn profile and ‘always’ look up CEOs, MDs and members of the department in which you wish to work.   This is good practise, but also makes a connection with the assessors before you arrive.”

Matthew Gardener, Computing (pictured back row far left) said “the network connections generated from this event will prove invaluable when it comes to applying for sandwich year placements and jobs at the end of your degree. In some cases, these connections might even come in useful during graduate enterprise as you can draw on their knowledge and skills to enrich your company. MAG itself has a large graduate scheme and all the graduates spoke highly of the company and the positive experiences they have had so far. A number of the graduates had spent time moving around the company trying out a number of the different roles to get a feel for what best suited them, working in areas that they did not necessarily cover during their degree.”

Lauren Hugo, Marketing with Advertising (pictured front row, second right) felt “the day at Manchester Olympic House with MAG was brilliant. It opened my eyes to opportunities I hadn’t thought about & really made me look forward to what I could be capable of achieving in the future. The tasks that we were set really tested our ability to work as a team & an individual, but the challenge was enjoyable & we received all positive feedback.

The Graduates & the Talent Spotter were available for networking at the end of the session & I collected some email addresses. We are in the progress of sorting out some volunteer work in link with their charity “Click Sargent”, through the Edge Hill Business Society”.

Waqas Ali, Computing (pictured on second row) felt that the “interview questions workshop sharpened our question answering skills as well as gaining a better understanding of what employers look for when interviewing candidates.   The event then concluded with a Q&A from the graduates, which was a chance to understand how they got to working for MAG, as well as giving advice on life after university.”

Graeme Cain, Business & Management (pictured front row, third from right) has taken an opportunity to move moving forward from this event as “networking has granted me the opportunity to return at a later date for temporary work or to possibly spend a day at the airport shadowing current graduates. This arisen after my enquiry into possible sandwich placements for 2017, but the staff couldn’t commit to this at the moment, as these are not offered annually. My MAG Advisor still stressed the importance of experience and how students should feel free to get in touch for work. I am keen to do this, and have gathered contact details from staff members and graduates willing to help.”

You can read more about the event and how Edge Hill students were ‘talent spotted’ here.

Crêpes, beer and business

Embankment of river Odet and cathedral of Saint-Corentin reflecting in water, Quimper, Brittany, France

Embankment of river Odet and cathedral of Saint-Corentin reflecting in water, Quimper, Brittany, France

Georgina Watson recounts travelling to France to participate in a marketing simulation game with students from six nations.

When my tutor interrupted our lecture on the ethics of dissertation writing to announce a trip to France for a week, it’s safe to say, my ears pricked up and I quickly awoke from a trance. The idea of gaining some well-needed marketing experience, whilst spending a week abroad seemed too good to be true. But, the fact that there was no mention of price made me a little apprehensive. I quickly arranged a meeting with my tutor and, to my delight, found that the University had offered to make a contribution to the travel costs involved. It was a no-brainer: I was going!

Like most people, I’ve always loved going abroad, whether with family or friends. But, I think there’s something very unique about travelling with people you don’t really know. When I was 14 I went to Germany on an exchange trip, and at 16, a Geography trip to Iceland, both of which were with people I was familiar and friendly with. This trip to Quimper was different for me, whether it was because I was travelling with people whom I’d never met before, because it’s been a few years since I’ve been on a ‘school trip’, or because it was to gain experience in an industry I’m not yet all that familiar with, I’m unsure. Nonetheless, I was nervous.

After early morning introductions, staggering through London, a whirl of endless trains, rail replacements, and much complaining about the weight of my rucksack, we made it to Quimper. Admittedly, I hadn’t done much research, but the town was a beautiful surprise and really lifted my spirits. The treacherous journey was soon forgotten after I had met my group for the week. The groups were made up of different nationalities: English, French, German, Italian, Romanian, and Dutch. The practice (‘Zero’) round was beyond helpful, as we all got to grips with the database and familiar with each other.

As the days passed, competition got tougher, new markets opened, reports were written, and the anticipation for every round’s results grew more and more.  Immediately, we took the lead and also gained the best grade for our halfway report. We also came out with the top grade for our final presentation, a particularly proud moment for me as President of the group. Academically, it was an amazing experience, as all the theory learned over the past two years was put into practice. I can say that without a doubt, it improved my personal skills in leadership, communication, data analysis and decision-making. However, it was the sense of independence I gained, and the motivation to learn and achieve more, that were the most valuable things I brought back with me.

Outside of the classroom, the week was filled with socialising over crêpes and beer, mingled with the learning of foreign slang.  The local French students were very accommodating and went out of their way to help us, especially when it came to transport. Highlights for me include: the afternoon trip to a fishing town Concarneau, visiting a local brewery, the international buffet, and going to the strangest little club (regrettably, twice!). The farewell dinner came around too fast and I wasn’t the only one to get a little emotional by the end of a lovely three-course meal, and several bottles of wine!

The journey home was much less stressful than the one there; it was filled with tales of the week and plans for the future. Overall, it was both physically and mentally challenging, and by the end of the week I was exhausted. However, the planning and execution of the Markstrat programme was impeccable, the atmosphere was amazing, and it was obvious that everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. The opportunity to go somewhere new, to meet new people and experience different ways of life, while gaining valuable knowledge, is rare and should not be missed. I’ve kept in contact with some people that I met over there, and have plans to visit them in Brittany later this year. My only wish is that I could do it all over again!

Georgina Watson, Marketing with Advertising student.

Thank you Edge Hill and to Fiona Syson for making it such a worthwhile trip.


Accountancy prize for first class graduate


Phoebe Harris, who graduated from Edge Hill University this year with a first class honours Accountancy degree, has been named her year group’s most outstanding student by Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants (LSCA).

During her graduation ceremony Phoebe received a certificate and £100 prize from LSCA in acknowledgement of being the most outstanding third year student on the BSc (Hons) Accountancy programme.

Phoebe said: “It is a great honour to have won the prize and to feel that the hard work I have put in my studies has been recognised and celebrated by the University. Graduating from Edge Hill comes with mixed emotions, I am delighted to have gained a first class honours degree and the LSCA award but I will be sad to leave! 

“The only way I can describe my three years at Edge Hill is to say that it has been the best experience of my life. As soon as I arrived on campus I felt welcome and at home. Everyone I have met from the lecturers and students to the staff who help run the University have been friendly and supportive and nothing is ever too much trouble. I have met friends for life and gained a degree which will significantly help with my future progression. I really would not even consider choosing another University after studying here for the last three years as I have had a student experience which I look back on and smile.

“After graduation I would like to secure a graduate job in the accountancy field and use the exemptions I have gained from the course to become a fully chartered accountant in the next three years.”

Edge Hill’s BSphoebe-harris2c (Hons) Accountancy course covers accounting and financial management theories and practice, introducing students to accounting practices in areas such as financial accounting, management accounting, information technology applications in accounting, financial management, auditing, and taxation.

Key skills such as problem solving, analysis, teamwork and negotiation all contribute to employability in the field. Those graduating in this degree will also gain a considerable number of exemptions from the exams of the main accountancy professional bodies.